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Rant. Muse. Eat. Sleep. Recycle.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Litmus test

I know I am going to get a lot of flak from people who believe that I'm being unpatriotic -- but I don't care. If Zacarias Moussaoui gets a death sentence, then I have to believe we have traveled much further down than that wrong road than I even believed was possible. I don't hate America, but I really hate what it has become in this "enlightened" Republican Age. In two decades of power for Republican politics --and particularly right wing politics -- we have seen little but losses. We have lost pride; we have lost perspective; we have lost leadership and we've lost connection with each other as Americans.

I used to think being African American meant having to fight for inclusion in this society; I don't think that is as true as it once was. Not because there isn't racism, but because there are some serious anti-human forces out there, working hard to marginalize all but the rich. Lots of white kids are dying in Iraq and the powers that be don't give a rat's ass unless it makes them look bad. Lots of white parents now can't afford to send their kids to school. Lots of white, middle-class workers have lost their jobs or can't afford health care. 'Tough,' says this regime.

As for me being African American, I have to wait in line for my abuse just like everybody else.

What we have to show for GOP largesse is a chasm between the rich and not-rich. Our environment is an afterthought. Rampant corruption has jaded us to its presence and lies are this regime's stock in trade. I call it the New Christian Ideal, since DeLay, Frist, Cunningham, Bush, Cheney et al all cry out hosannas to the Lord.

So, poorer, uninsured, buffeted by high gas prices, alarmed by a war with no end and armed with only one absolute certainty -- that the country's rulers will lie to me --I am obsessed with the case of Moussaoui. Why? Because, I don't want us to budge another step down that road of vengeance for PR's sake.

Killing Moussaoui is a bread and circuses ploy. We would be killing someone who everyone admits killed no one. Perhaps you believe his death would be "battlefield justice," a bullet to the head for not divulging information. But, this is no war, anymore than the war on drugs is a war. It is a marketing machine making companies like Halliburton, McDonnell Douglas, Rolls Royce and Boeing rich beyond reason. We don't need another martyr. We've got plenty -- young Afghani and Iraqi girls and boys, mothers, fathers, uncles, cousins... pick one. They're already dead.

It's time to be America, again. Let Moussaoui live.

link | posted by Jae at 9:28 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

How about a consistent justice?

Does anyone remember the name Michael Fortier? Fortier was an Army buddy of white supremacist Timothy McVeigh. Fortier, pleaded guilty to not telling authorities in advance about the Oklahoma City bomb plot that killed 168 people and agreed to testify against McVeigh and Nichols. Fortier was released from a federal prison in January 2006 after serving about 85 percent of a 12-year sentence.

Notwithstanding that I believe 9/11 was a fundraiser, why is Zacarias Moussaoui facing a death penalty for basically the same charges? Even prosecutors say his worst crime is that he didn't tell anyone -- much like Fortier. Could it be that Moussaoui's from out of town?

link | posted by Jae at 3:41 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Here's a little prescient reporting from the UC Berkeley News. It reads like today's opinion page, except it was written in 2004.

BERKELEY – The Iraq war is not winnable, a secret U.S. military unit has been "disappearing" people since December 2001, and America has no idea how irreparably its torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has damaged its image in the Middle East. These were just a few of the grim pronouncements made by Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Seymour "Sy" Hersh to KQED host Michael Krasny before a Berkeley audience on Friday night (Oct. 8).

The past two years will "go down as one of the classic sort of failures" in history, said the man who has been called the "greatest muckraker of all time" and (paradoxically) the "enfant terrible of journalism for more than 30 years." While Hersh blamed the White House and the Pentagon for the Iraq quagmire and America's besmirched world image, he was stymied by how it all happened. [I have asked myself this question many, many times] "How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the military! So you say to yourself, How fragile is this democracy?"

From My Lai to Abu Ghraib

That fragility clearly unnerves him. Hersh summarizes his mission as "to hold the people in public office to the highest possible standard of decency and of honesty…to tolerate anything less, even in the name of national security, is wrong." He tries his best. More than any other U.S. journalist alive today, he embodies the statement that "a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government," a belief defined by the conservationist Edward Abbey.

link | posted by Jae at 7:55 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We have gone so far away from good government...

Do we even recall what representative government is, anymore? Reading between the lines in the New York Times article below gives a picture of a man (Bush) who doesn't even share information with Democratic members of Congress. What the hell kind of chance does the American Public stand with that kind of attitude?

"In recent weeks, Bush has quietly initiated a series of talks on plans for Iran with a few key senators and members of Congress, including at least one Democrat. A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, who did not take part in the meetings but has discussed their content with his colleagues, told me that there had been “no formal briefings,” because “they’re reluctant to brief the minority. They’re doing the Senate, somewhat selectively.”

The House member said that no one in the meetings “is really objecting” to the talk of war. “The people they’re briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?” (Iran is building [nuclear] facilities underground.) “There’s no pressure from Congress” not to take military action, the House member added. “The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it.” Speaking of Bush, the House member said, “The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.”

link | posted by Jae at 3:10 PM | 1 comments

Monday, April 10, 2006

Look over here!

How did the immigration issue move to front and center? In the good ol’ days of the American free-press, the amount of coverage this issue is receiving would have seemed appropriate. But it’s getting a disproportionate-to-every-other issue amount of coverage. Why is each and every protest march given front-page spreads, when the anti invade-Iraq marches of 2003 (which drew 100’s of thousands of protestors, nationwide) barely got a mention in the “main stream” media?

Suddenly this divisive issue (even within the Republican party because, hey, it’s hard for a conservative to choose between his racist instincts and the promise of a slave labor-force) trumps everything.

Watch the slight of hand, people. While we’re looking over there, George (‘I want to know who the leakers are’) Bush has been fingered as the leaker in the Valerie Plame case (kinda reminds me of when OJ hired a private detective to find his wife’s killer).

But that’s nothing compared to what Seymour Hersh has reported in the current issue of the New Yorker. Apparently, America is fixin’ to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran’s suspected nuclear facilities.

“A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped [from pursuing a nuclear weapon]. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”

Go here for the full story: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060417fa_fact

--Posted by KAY

link | posted by Jae at 8:53 AM | 1 comments

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hey people, open your eyes! They're building concentration camps...


By Peter Dale Scott

A recently announced contract for a Halliburton subsidiary to build immigrant detention facilities is part of a longer-term Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists." Scott is author of "Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). He is completing a book on "The Road to 9/11." Visit his Web site at http://www.peterdalescott.net.

The Halliburton subsidiary KBR (formerly Brown and Root) announced on Jan. 24 that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps. Two weeks later, on Feb. 6, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that the Fiscal Year 2007 federal budget would allocate over $400 million to add 6,700 additional detention beds (an increase of 32 percent over 2006). This $400 million allocation is more than a four-fold increase over the FY 2006 budget, which provided only $90 million for the same purpose.

Both the contract and the budget allocation are in partial fulfillment of an ambitious 10-year Homeland Security strategic plan, code-named ENDGAME, authorized in 2003. According to a 49-page Homeland Security document on the plan, ENDGAME expands "a mission first articulated in the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798." Its goal is the capability to "remove all removable aliens," including "illegal economic migrants, aliens who have committed criminal acts, asylum-seekers (required to be retained by law) or potential terrorists."

There is no question that the Bush White House is under considerable political pressure to increase the detentions of illegal immigrants, especially from across the Mexican border. Confrontations along the border are increasingly violent, often involving the drug traffic.

But the problem of illegal immigration cannot be separated from other Bush policies: principally the retreat from traditional American programs designed to combat poverty in Latin America. In Florida last week, Democratic Party leader Howard Dean attacked the new federal budget for its almost 30 percent cut in development aid to Latin America and the Caribbean.

In truth, both parties have virtually abandoned the John F. Kennedy vision of an Alliance for Progress in Latin America. Kennedy's hope was that, by raising the standard of living of Latin America's poor, there would be less pressure on them to emigrate to the United States.

That vision foundered when successive administrations, both Democratic and Republican, contributed to the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Brazil, Chile and elsewhere, replacing them with oppressive dictatorships.

Since about 1970, the policies of the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund have also aggravated the problem of poverty in the rest of the world, especially Latin America. U.S. programs abroad, like programs at home, are now designed principally around the concept of security -- above all for oil installations and pipelines.

In consequence, the United States is being redefined as a vast gated community, hoping to isolate itself by force from its poverty-stricken neighbors. Inside the U.S. fortress sit 2.1 million prisoners, a greater percentage of the population than in any other nation. ENDGAME's crash program is designed to house additional detainees who have not been convicted of crimes.

Significantly, both the KBR contract and the ENDGAME plan are open-ended. The contract calls for a response to "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs" in the event of other emergencies, such as "a natural disaster." "New programs" is of course a term with no precise limitation. So, in the current administration, is ENDGAME's goal of removing "potential terrorists."

It is relevant that in 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his desire to see camps for U.S. citizens deemed to be "enemy combatants." On Feb. 17 of this year, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the harm being done to the country's security, not just by the enemy, but also by what he called "news informers" who needed to be combated in "a contest of wills." Two days earlier, citing speeches critical of Bush by Al Gore, John Kerry, and Howard Dean, conservative columnist Ben Shapiro called for "legislation to prosecute such sedition."

Since 9/11 the Bush White House has implemented a number of inter-related programs, which had been planned for secretly in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan. These so-called "Continuity of Government" or COG proposals included vastly expanded detention capabilities, warrantless eavesdropping and detention, and preparations for greater use of martial law.

Prominent among the secret planners of this program in the 1980s were then-Congressman Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who at the time was in private business as CEO of the drug company G.D. Searle.

The principal desk officer for the program was Oliver North, until he was forced to resign in 1986 over Iran-Contra.

When planes crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Cheney's response, after consulting Bush, was to implement a classified "Continuity of Government" plan for the first time, according to the 9/11 Commission report. As the Washington Post later explained, the order "dispatched a shadow government of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington, activating for the first time long-standing plans."

What these managers in this shadow government worked on has never been reported. But it is significant that the group that prepared ENDGAME was, as the Homeland Security document puts it, "chartered in September 2001." For ENDGAME's goal of a capacious detention capability is remarkably similar to Oliver North's controversial Rex-84 "readiness exercise" for COG in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary "refugees," in the context of "uncontrolled population movements" over the Mexican border into the United States.

North's exercise, which reportedly contemplated possible suspension of the United States Constitution, led to questions being asked during the Iran-Contra Hearings. One concern then was that North's plans for expanded internment and detention facilities would not be confined to "refugees" alone.

Oliver North represented a minority element in the Reagan administration, which soon distanced itself from both the man and his proposals. But that minority associated with COG planning, which included Dick Cheney, appear to be in control of the U.S. government today.


link | posted by Jae at 1:52 PM | 1 comments

Thursday, April 06, 2006

And so it goes... you conservatives got your votes ready?

(AP) - Dick Cheney's former top aide told prosecutors George W. Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.

Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him to pass on information and that it was Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers say. According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame's CIA identity.

But the disclosure in documents filed Wednesday means that Bush and Cheney put Libby in play as a secret provider of information to reporters about prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Bush's political foes jumped on the revelation about Libby's testimony.

"The fact that Bush was willing to reveal classified information for political gain and put the interests of his political party ahead of Americas security shows that he can no longer be trusted to keep America safe," Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "The more we hear, the more it is clear this goes way beyond Scooter Libby. At the very least, Bush and Cheney should fully inform the American people of any role in allowing classified information to be leaked."

Libby's testimony also puts the Bush and Cheney in the awkward position of authorizing leaks — a practice both men have long said they abhor, so much so that the White House has put in motion criminal investigations to hunt down leakers.

The most recent instance is the White House's launching of a probe into who disclosed to The New York Times the existence of the warrantless domestic surveillance program authorized by Bush shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The authorization involving intelligence information came as the Bush White House faced mounting criticism about its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the main reason Bush and his aides had given for going to war.

Libby's participation in a critical conversation with Miller on July 8, 2003 "occurred only after Cheney advised defendant that Bush specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the National Intelligence Estimate," the papers by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald stated. The filing did not specify the "certain information."

"Defendant testified that the circumstances of his conversation with reporter Miller — getting approval from Bush through Cheney to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval — were unique in his recollection," the papers added.

Libby is asking for voluminous amounts of classified information from the government in order to defend himself against five counts of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI in the Plame affair.

He is accused of making false statements about how he learned of Plame's CIA employment and what he told reporters about it.

Her CIA status was publicly disclosed eight days after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush White House of twisting prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass destruction.

In 2002, Wilson had been dispatched to Africa by the CIA to check out intelligence that Iraq had an agreement to acquire uranium yellowcake from Niger, and Wilson had concluded that there was no such arrangement.

Libby says he needs extensive classified files from the government to demonstrate that Plame's CIA connection was a peripheral matter that he never focused on, and that the role of Wilson's wife was a small piece in a building public controversy over the failure to find WMD in Iraq.

Fitzgerald said in the new court filing that Libby's requests for information go too far and the prosecutor cited Libby's own statements to investigators in an attempt to limit the amount of information the government must turn over to Cheney's former chief of staff for his criminal defense.

According to Miller's grand jury testimony, Libby told her about Plame's CIA status in the July 8, 2003 conversation that took place shortly after the White House aide —according to the new court filing — was authorized by Bush through Cheney to disclose sensitive intelligence about Iraq and WMD contained in a National Intelligence Estimate.

The court filing was first disclosed by The New York Sun.

link | posted by Jae at 12:30 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

These are the guys in charge of making us feel safe?

(AP) MIAMI - The deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was arrested Tuesday for using the Internet to seduce what he thought was a teenage girl, authorities said.

Brian J. Doyle, 55, was arrested at his residence in Maryland on charges of use of a computer to seduce a child and transmission of harmful material to a minor. The charges were issued out of Polk County, Fla.

Doyle, of Silver Spring, Md., had a sexually explicit conversation with what he believed was a 14-year-old girl whose profile he saw on the Internet on March 14, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The girl was an undercover Polk County Sheriff's Computer Crimes detective, the sheriff's office said.

Doyle sent the girl pornographic movie clips and had sexually explicit conversations via the Internet, the statement said.

During other online conversations, Doyle revealed his name, that he worked for the Homeland Security Department and offered his office and government issued cell phone numbers, the sheriff's office said.

Doyle also sent photos of himself to the girl, but authorities said they were not sexually explicit.

On several occasions, Doyle instructed her to perform a sexual act while thinking of him and described explicit activities he wanted to have with her, investigators said.

Doyle later had a telephone conversation with an undercover deputy posing as the teenager and encouraged her to purchase a web camera to send graphic images of herself to him, the sheriff's office said.

He was booked into Maryland's Montgomery County jail where he was waiting to be extradited to Florida, the sheriff's office said.

There was no immediate response to messages left on Doyle's government-issued cell phone and his e-mail, and he could not be reached by phone at the jail for comment.

Homeland Security press secretary Russ Knocke in Washington said he could not comment on the details of the investigation. "We take these allegations very seriously, and we will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation," Knocke said.

Doyle, who is the fourth-ranking official in the department's public affairs office, was expected to be placed on administrative leave Wednesday morning

link | posted by Jae at 8:13 PM | 3 comments

Monday, April 03, 2006

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged! Now, I must answer questions and tag four others. But, first I have to acknowledge my tagger, Renegade Eye at: http://advant.blogspot.com. Go, it's a good site.

I have to answer the following questions... then I'll name the four I'm tagging. They will have to answer the same questions... and tag four other bloggers. This should be done on their own site... but link me to it when you do...

1) What are your guilty pleasures??
Comic books and 80s movies

2) What song is your theme song?
"Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues"

3) You receive $20.00 change in a retail store. The correct change is
$1.00. What do you do?
Give it back.

4) You know your friend's husband has another lover. Tell wifey?
Extricate myself from the situation and watch from a distance; it will likely explode and when it does, I can offer condolences, advice.

5) Who do you admire, that would surprise others?
George Clinton has plugged into a serious collective consciousness.

Here are my four and everyone check these blogs out, they’re all good (is that what you thought is provacative)..

Is That What You Thought
Oliver Willis
Zimbabwean Pundit
The Assimilated Negro

link | posted by Jae at 8:53 AM | 0 comments

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